Thacher Park Running Festival 10K

Saturday marked the 100 year celebration of John Boyd Thacher State Park. Ever since I was a little kid I have been coming here to walk the Indian Ladder Trail, and it’s still one of my favorite places to get outside in the Capital Region.

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I love going to Thacher for nature walks, trail running, fun trail racing, and even snowshoeing.

With one of the best views in the area, this place can’t be beat.

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This is why I ran the 10K on Saturday. As part of the Centennial Celebration, the Albany Running Exchange put on some trail races: a 5K, a 10K, and even a marathon and a 50K!

The 10K course was a loop that goes along part of the Long Path, a trail that I had never run on there before. I love running new trails and it was nice to see other parts of the park.

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There were even two great lookout spots during the race.

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The 10K was Kristin‘s first trail race! We spent the whole race chatting away and it made the miles fly by. Thankfully both of us stayed upright the whole time. I heard there were a few nasty falls during the day. I have been there before and its not fun! We finished in 1 hour, 14 minutes.

Overall, I really enjoyed the course for this race! Maybe I’ll even find myself running the marathon here in the future.

I really wish I was doing the Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon again this year at Thacher, but it falls on the same day as the Marine Corps Marathon! Speaking of marathon, if you were wondering: yes, I’m still training! Sunday (the day after the 10K) I ran my first 20 miler of my training plan! It went very well and I’m really excited to spend October 26th running around Washington DC for 26.2 miles.

The Longest Hike – Allen Mountain

Saturday was the perfect September day! My day started out VERY early at 4:00 AM. Christine is on her way to finishing her Adirondack 46 this month and  only has a few more high peaks to hike. I joined her for one of the longest, Allen Mountain. We arrived at the trailhead for Allen at the East River parking lot at about 7:00am. The sun had been up for only a few minutes. We wanted as much day light as possible because this was a doozey of a hike. About 18-19 miles round trip and an estimated 12 hours of hiking. I was game because I like walking and I like being outside. I also like mountains.

The first five miles of the hike are on old logging roads and a trail that meanders through some rivers and over some lakes. It was a gorgeous sight. (Again, the moose is missing from these photos. Where are they?!)

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We crossed the Hudson almost immediately entering the trail and there was a brand new bridge !

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Shortly after we came to the trailhead for Mount Adams, which was on our left, followed by some old caretaker cabins. The bridge, Mt. Adams trailhead and the cabins were later going to be our checkpoints on the long walk back to the car.

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Inside the creepy cabin.

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More ponds.

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A view of some neighboring mountains.

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The trail then comes to a gate along the Opalescent River. The trail goes around the gate, but straight down the road. We first made the mistake of crossing the river too soon and had to bushwhack to look for the trail on the other side. When we didn’t find it, we realized we had crossed the river too early. We crossed again, back to the main trail, and then followed it to a cairn marking the REAL crossing further down. I can now check bushwhacking of my list of things to do, and I don’t particularly want to do it again any time soon!

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Leaves are already changing up North.

Five miles and a few grassy fields later, we came to the actual trail register for Allen Mountain. The trail is unmarked, but some trees do have some disks on them as unofficial trail markers. The herd path to the summit is obvious. There were maybe 11 total people on the trail yesterday, three of which Christine and I hiked with almost the whole way, which made the time pass by fast and made it much more enjoyable.

What they say about Allen is true. It’s slippery and wet. The hike up the slimy slides was atrocious and I fell a number of times. I was sliding down a wet rock face, clinging to roots. But, I made it.

7.5 hours after parking at the trailhead, we summited Allen!

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Yellow disk AKA summit marker.

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We enjoyed our lunches on top at one of the lookout points. Not a bad lunch spot.

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AANNND we only had 9 miles to go back to the car. Easy! At least I had to tell myself that or I would have gone crazy. I will say that going down Allen was MUCH easier than coming up the slimy slides, where I was crawling on my hands and knees. And it went much quicker. By the time we got back to the Allen register, the sun was beginning to go down and I knew the last half hour or so of hour hike would be done in the dark, something that will probably always make me uneasy!

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Back at the Opalescent river!

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The walk out was a walk in the park, but the sun did go down and headlamps came out. At one point we made a wrong turn next to Lake Sally and upon realizing we hadn’t been that close to the lake on the way in, we turned back around and headed into the right direction–to the car.

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The trailhead for Mt. Adams came up on our right and I was very relieved we were walking in the right direction. We probably only hiked about 35 minutes in the dark, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. Despite the darkness, I felt great the whole day, was only a bit sore after spending 13+ hours walking in the woods with a pack on my back. And I can check Allen off my list for the quest for 46!

Allen Mountain
~18 miles RT
Elevation: 4340′
Ascent: 2540′

Hiking Mt. Jo and ADK Things

This weekend was full of Adirondack goodness. I went camping near Lake Placid with my friends Meredith and John. We had grand plans of hiking some high peaks this past weekend, but weather diminished them. However, the weather was still great on Saturday after we set up camp, and decided that we better get a hike in now, just to say we saw  some views.

Enter Mt. Jo.

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The trail to Mt. Jo is at the Adirondack Loj parking lot. It was a short hike, so we didn’t mind starting the hike at about 4:30pm. First we stopped to see Heart Lake.

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Then we began the 1.1 mile climb on the “short trail” to the summit of Mt. Jo. It was short, but steep!

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There were some great views up here, right in the middle of the high peaks! We could see Algonquin, Wright, Iroquois, Marcy, and even Haystack.

We took the long trail back down, which wasn’t as steep. The sun started going down when we got back to Heart Lake.

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Mt. Jo
2.6 mi RT
Elevation: 2,876′

After our hike, we drove into Lake Placid for dinner at the Pub. (I recommend the Moose Island Ale with the Maple Cheddar Melt.) Then we went back to the campground for the night. We were staying at Lincoln Pond Campground in Elizabethtown, about 45 minutes from Lake Placid.

The following morning it was gloomy, and it looked like it was about to rain any second! So instead of going on our hike, we drove back into Placid for brunch at a great spot called the Breakfast Club. The food was amazing! We then wandered around town and stopped to get maple creme soft serve.

Some other random Adirondack things we did on Sunday:

  • Saw the antique car show parade drive down Main Street
  • Drove to Saranac Lake to see what Hobofest was all about
  • Had a tasting at Blue Line Brewery
  • Stopped to browse at the Mountaineer
  • Tried the famous pie at the Noonmark Diner {I recommend the raspberry rhubarb crumble}
  • Wandered around a unique antique shop
  • Enjoyed the view at Cascade Lakes

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When our hiking plans fell through, we looked at it as an opportunity to do all the things we have been wanting to do when in Lake Placid, but never had time for in the past!

Brown and Five Mile Mountain – Tongue Mountain Range

On Saturday I took my good friend Sarah on a hike near Lake George. I hiked with her for the first time back in 2008 when I was first getting into shape and we hiked Sleeping Beauty together–it has been nearly six years since we did that hike! I wanted to do an easy hike on Saturday because I still had to do my long run on Sunday, so I picked part of the Tongue Mountain Range–the trail to Five Mile Mountain.

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The book of day hikes that I have boasted that this hike had amazing views. About 3 miles into the hike I deemed it the book of lies.

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Two miles in we reached the lean-to and possibly the summit of Brown Mountain, which had a small view of the surrounding mountains, but mostly of the trees. I did get to see many tiny red salamanders on the trail, along with plenty of mushrooms.

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The book I had also said that the summit of Five Mile Mountain was .7 miles away from the lean-to. It seemed like it was more than that–unfortunately I forgot to wear my GPS so I couldn’t track our mileage. The trail kept winding up and down and eventually we came to what we thought was the summit.

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It had a pretty, although limited view of Lake George, not as good as the book made it seem. But it was nice to stop and enjoy the sun for a little bit, while we chatted with the two other people up top–the only other two we saw on the summit.

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Not many others were hiking this trail on that day.

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Brown Mountain & Five Mile Mountain via the North end of the Tongue Mountain Range Trail
~8 mi RT
Brown Mountain Elevation: 1,965′
Five Mile Mountain Elevation: 2,258′

The Shore

A couple weeks ago I went down to New Jersey to visit my sister–we had a reason to celebrate! She and her boyfriend Brian got engaged!!

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He popped the question a few weeks ago, and I had already been planning to visit, so it was extra special to be down there and chat about wedding things!

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One night when I was there, they took me to a brewery called Kane, located in Ocean, NJ. Their tasting room was really crowded and the beer was good!

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The following day we went to Long Beach Island for some sun and sand! What a pretty beach. It was crowded though. I spent some time actually in the water, which was nice. I don’t usually swim in the ocean, but this was fun.

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For lunch we went to Chicken or the Egg, which is a popular wing place made famous by the Travel Channel. It was BYOB so we brought some drinks to have with lunch.

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It was an awesome weekend !